Cessnock’s Joe Bromage will have more than just two competition points to play for this weekend.
The Goannas lock will be part of Newcastle Rugby League’s inaugural “futures round” which not only has under-19 fixtures kicking off closer to first grade but also has Newcastle Knights’ under-20 positions up for grabs.
“It will definitely be a good experience to play later in the day, hopefully with a few more people in the crowd,” Bromage said.
“And for the opportunity at the Knights to come out of it, that will pump up the boys to prove a point and perform on the day.”
Sixteen players, best on ground for each under-19 team in rounds eight and 14, will be invited to trial for the 2018 Knights’ NYC squad over the summer.
“We wanted to add a bit more importance to the weekend instead of just having a name and changing when they play,” Newcastle RL chief executive officer Matt Harris said.
“This really demonstrates it is about pathways and futures.”
Ladder leaders Cessnock are away to South Newcastle at Townson Oval on Sunday while Western Suburbs host Maitland at Harker Oval on the same afternoon. Saturday sees Macquarie meet Central Newcastle at Lyall Peacock Field for a second consecutive week. All three games will be played immediately before first grade.
Defending champions Lakes and the last-placed Bulldogs will go head-to-head directly after first grade at Kurri Sportsground on Saturday. It will also be livestreamed on BarTV Sports.